Human Rights Violations in Cacarica

Grave Human Rights violations in Cacarica by the FARC-EP guerrillas. Operations by the paramilitaries and the 17th Brigade of the army persist against the population.

Bogotá D.C. March 3, 2011


President of Colombia


Vice President of Colombia


Interior Minister


Minister of Foreign Relations


Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development


Attorney General of the Nation (e)


Inspector General of the Nation


National Ombudsman

“Some rely on chariots, others on horses, but we on the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20, 8

Our Historical Documentation and Ethical Censure of the crimes of the FARC-EP guerrillas in the development of their strategy of guerrilla warfare, which understands civilian actions as military intelligence operations or which defines rules of conduct for inhabitants in the absence of the authorities that protect the rights of women and children.

Our Historical Documentation of the paramilitary actions carried out with the consent or omission of the public security forces that control the Atrato River between the points known as Tumaradó, Travesía, and La Honda, and the damages caused by the public security forces to the possessions needed for survival as they carried out territorial social control operations.

We present to you our Documentation of these crimes, which little by little we have been able to document, and the actions that paramilitaries continue to carry out as a strategy agreed upon and assisted by the public security forces, as recently confirmed.

Thursday, December 16, 2010, in the morning, in the community lands of the Bogotá community, in the collective territory of Cacarica, there were armed confrontations between the guerrillas of the 57th front of the FARC-EP and soldiers of the 17th Brigade.

The armed confrontation produced fear and the temporary displacement of some families in the Humanitarian Zone, “Nueva Esperanza en Dios” [“New Hope in God”].

Saturday. December 18, during the night, our Justice and Peace Commission in Bogotá was informed that the landing of a helicopter of the 17th Brigade, with provisions for troops in the hamlet of Bogotá, destroyed a quarter hectare of corn, 6 oak trees that were 9 meters tall, and part of the field of plantains belonging to the Quinto family.

Saturday, January 15, 2011, during the night, our Justice and Peace Commission was informed that FARC-EP guerrillas murdered Mr. Luis Eduardo Ramírez. The crime took place in the hamlet of Puerto Berlín, in the Cacarica River Basin, four hours from the “Nueva Esperanza en Dios” Humanitarian Zone.

According to accounts we received, the armed men told the people of the area where the events occurred, that the victim was an informant for the public security forces. They also said that as an adult he was sexually harassing a minor and forcing her to live with him.

Information was received indicating that in November, the farmer Javier Ávila Cuadrado had been murdered by FARC-EP guerrillas near the community of Andalucía in the collective territory of Cacarica. Those who carried out the crime told residents of the area that the victim belonged to the informant network of the army.

Saturday, January 15, about 5:00 p.m. in the hamlet of Tumaradó on the bank of the Atrato River, the Aguilas Negras [Black Eagles] paramilitaries again began to exert control by means of a semi-permanent checkpoint where they inspect boats and passengers. The paramilitaries told several Afro-Colombian families, who travel on the river past that point, that they will continue their presence there and that there is nothing to denounce because the army knows about their presence there.

Sunday, January 16, about 7:30 a.m. around the humanitarian zone, “Nueva Esperanza en Dios,” soldiers of the 17th Brigade exercised control over the mobility and activities of the residents, who are members of the lower community council. The soldiers asked for the names of the leaders of the community. The members of the lower council, associated with CAVIDA, stated that their fields of plantain, rice, and forests had been partially destroyed or damaged by the troops.

Thursday, January 20, our Justice and Peace Commission learned from Indigenous organizations that FARC guerrillas murdered the Indigenous persons Laura Domicó and Rosendo Domicó near the Indigenous community Bequerá Perancho in the Cacarica region.
According to the source, the victims are two Emberas who had arrived there the year before, having been displaced by paramilitaries from the Salaquí basin. Because of fear of new actions against the community, some families had fled to the municipality of Ríosucio, Chocó.

Sunday, January 23, our Justice and Peace Commission learned that during the week preceding January 30, about 100 “Aguilas Negras” paramilitaries entered the Cacarica Basin. The paramilitaries mobilized in the vicinity of the hamlet of La Balsa within the collective territory of Cacarica in order to make their way to the middle and upper parts of the collective territory bordering Salaquí.

Friday, February 4, in the afternoon, “Aguilas Negras” paramilitaries who operate in Tumaradó announced that they will implement new mechanisms to control persons and goods going from the municipality of Turbo toward Cacarica. They made the announcement without specifying what new mechanisms they will develop.

Saturday, February 12, at mid-day, a movement was noticed of paramilitaries in motorboats, dressed in civilian clothing, with pistols and rifles hidden in the boats, in the settlement of La Honda, in the territory of Cacarica. Minutes later, another boat made its way toward the settlement of La Balsa.

Wednesday, March 1, in the morning, movement of paramilitaries in boats on the Atrato River was confirmed. They were entering through La Honda. Others were moving through the place known as Tumaradó. The paramilitaries were observed in civilian clothing carrying pistols, and with rifles hidden in the bottom of the boats.

Thursday, March 4, at 4:30 p.m. our Justice and Peace Commission was informed by citizens that a group of “Aguilas Negras” told them in the midst of their movement that they have more power than before, “We have learned how to do things, after the trick they played on us.” They specified that they count on the unconditional backing of the military and police. They asserted that it does no good to make denunciations, since they have complete power and relationship with the institutions.

They said they had made a mistake in another region, in Córdoba, with the assassination of students from the University of the Andes. They said that this would not be repeated because “it aroused a lot of attention and damaged the businesses.” In addition, they reiterated that the public security forces know about and receive money from the profits. “Progress and money are arriving here; there’s a lot of money now and there will be a lot more.”

Our Ethical Censure of the series of murders that affront human dignity, and produce an atmosphere of fear and terror in the population who continue living in the collective territory of Cacarica.

The clear violation of international humanitarian law by the guerrillas has no legitimacy in the laws of war nor in the Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities. The communities see those guerrilla actions as a new factor that generates terror and tension affecting the possibility of reconstructing the social fabric.

Today the Cacarica Basin is part of the setting of Colombia’s internal war in which the military operations of the public security forces and the paramilitary strategy have been directed at frightening and controlling the population, supposedly to produce guarantees for the implementation of agribusiness and infrastructure projects that are planned without consultation or consent of the community.

The military and repressive strategy that has been implemented since 1996 in Cacarica is constructed today with new components, with new techniques associated with social control and the assurance of a development model. The cynicism with which they justify the paramilitary operations shows the interaction and combination of actions with the strategies of repression and institutional control.

We present to you our Historical Documentation so that effective political measures will be adopted to back the civilian population’s protection initiatives, such as the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones, and so that as many specific measures as necessary be adopted so that the military dynamics are adjusted to follow humanitarian law and show the respect owed to the civilian population.

With full consideration,

Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission